This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The mixedne88 of the ideas of a steward's duties contained in the following letter is easily accounted for when the fact is taken into consideration that there are two different types of stewards now doing business in the hotels of this country; one set does and the other does not do as the writer says. After discussing the matter from their different standpoints we will endeavor to draw some definite conclusions and out-line the duties of the coming steward. This letter is from New Hampshire; it is written on paper bearing the imprint "Kearsarge" hotel; it is one of the best specimens of a letter of inquiry of this sort ever received, for the writer has ideas of his own and starts the subject, and the italics, which are his own, intimate very clearly just what points were in dispute. It runs:
"Having some dispute with friends in regard to the duties of a steward in a first-class house I told them I would leave the matter to you to decide as I knew * * * * I told them that the steward engages all the help for the kitchen, the chef included, also head waiter (the waiters under the headwaiter may be hired by the head-waiter subject to the steward's approval), and that all the above help are under and subject to the steward's control; that the steward does all the buying of supplies for the table and all kitchen utensils; that the pastry cook or confectioner makes all ices and creams; that the steward does no carving, as that is done by the cook or his assistants; that the steward gets up all bills of fare; that it is not his duty, or his assistants', to carry from the carving room and care for the meats, etc., that may be left after the dinner is over, that duty belonging to the cook; that the steward does no manual labor, but is the head and director of all matters pertaining to kitchen and dining room; that the steward's assistant prepares all meats for cooking, but not the steward personally.
I have been interested in small hotels, not large enough to employ a steward, and so may be wrong in my statement, and if so will you please give me the correct duties of a steward, and oblige, etc".